We are so delighted that we can resume our Sunday services this week. There’s that old saying, ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’. That’s certainly the case for so many of us. After sixteen weeks of online church, we’ve missed being able to see one another in person. Whilst we understand that some people may not be able to join us on Sundays yet, we very much look forward to seeing those of you who can make it.
One of my sons said to me during the week, “In 100 years’ time, students in History classes in Hong Kong might study the significance of this past year.” Protests and pandemic haven’t made the past year easy. Moreover, we don’t know what the coming year will bring. Many of us feel anxious and uncertain about the future.
This Sunday, we’re commencing a new series in 1 Thessalonians. In uncertain times, the Apostle Paul reminds us about the foundations of our faith, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Thessalonians experienced their own times of turmoil and uncertainty. Paul planted the church in their city, but then he had to quickly leave due to violent unrest. He wasn’t sure whether these baby Christians would survive. His letter to them comes after he hears that they’re not simply surviving but thriving in their faith.
The lessons learnt by the Thessalonians can become lessons learnt by us. When this group of ordinary 1st century pagans believed in Jesus, they changed so much that others were imitating their faith, hope, and love. Paul was so thrilled with their vibrant lives that he writes to give them encouragement to keep pressing onwards. Here was a community of people that made an impact on the world around them.
Despite the difficulties and uncertainties that we encounter, we are called to have the same resolute faith, overflowing love, and abounding hope. It is this kind of life that ordinary Christians like us are called to.